Whether you travel for work or fun, making positive food choices can be challenging. However, traveling is not an excuse to throw good habits out the window, especially if you are actively trying to make positive changes. Below are some strategies to help keep you on track when you travel, and to avoid feeling overwhelmed with unfamiliar foods.
Snacks are essential when traveling, especially if you are going across time zones. Eating schedules may be disrupted, and you may find yourself getting hungry during non-meal times. Packing non-perishable snacks for the plane, in the car, and in your suitcase will ensure you have options when hunger gets the best of you. Good snack options include: dried and fresh fruit, nut mix (pre-portioned into reusable bags), whole grain crackers, packets of nut butter*, applesauce pouches*, protein bars, jerky and freeze dried vegetables.
*pack in liquids bag if taking on the plane
Bring Meals from Home
There is nothing worse than trying to find a satisfying meal at an airport terminal with no healthy food options. If you are leaving on your trip from home, pack food and bring it in a cold food bag. Just be sure to eat your food within 2 hours of leaving home to avoid bacterial overgrowth (i.e. spoilage) of your meal. If you are traveling back home, stop by a local restaurant and pick up a meal to go. Some hotels will store food for you in their refrigerator until you head to the airport (if you ask nicely!). Just make sure to remove all liquids (like salad dressing) before going through security. If you are on a road trip, bring a cooler and store cold food with ice. Don’t forget sanitizing wipes and/or sanitizer, especially on the plane. Never eat anything directly off of an airplane tray, yuck!
Be an Intuitive Eater on the Go!
Indulgence is part of the fun of traveling, especially if you are heading to a place known for their food. Remember to stay mindful and non-judgmental when eating. Listen to your hunger and satiety cues. Try new foods, but remember to stop eating when you are full. If it is something you can take back to your hotel or rental home, ask for a to-go bag. Make an effort to balance out your meals. Bringing breakfast options from home, like oatmeal packets or granola, is an easy way to avoid eating out at every single meal.
Annie Rubin, MS, RDN